the tedium of political history book reviews

April 19th, 2014

I’m a little amused by a book review from Abbas Milani in the latest New Republic.  It’s to a book recording early US — Islamic World relations.  It’s the first paragraph.  I thought it would be online, but i seems the magazine has wisely decided not to give their stuff away for free, so I can’t just cite it here.

It’s the classic trope where you relay the past as though it were the future… “Imagine a Smear campaign for the presidency”, then list off a bunch of transgressions, with the next paragraph starting with “No, it’s not the 2000s; it’s 1800!”

The problem is none of the transgressions are remotely plausible to any campaign in the current century.  A Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum cannot get away for blasting away at the undermining of this great nation by Atheists and Mohammedans, or for that matter calling Barack Obama a Muslim; his support would crater completely.  (This is where “dog whistles” and “under the radar” “surrogates” come into play).  It is an incredibly contrived and hackneyed version of this trope.  One of the most hackneyed I’ve seen, the correlation does not correlate well enough for any reasonable acceptance, and I point it out only because…

I’m kind of sick of this cliche.

on the passing of a literary giant

April 18th, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away.  He is noted by many literary fans for many an intelligent work of thought provoking literature hovering toward the genre of “Magic Realism”.  He is noted by many on the right for his support of Fidel Castro.

I know him first and foremost as the man who wrote the story that was adapted into a classic episode of the Simpsons.

Understand, years from now, I’ll note the passing away of Stephen Hawking by his appearances on the Simpsons.  It’s how I’ll frame the greats of the current age.

stupid questions

April 15th, 2014

“Which Tele-tubby are?”
I immediately felt silly for asking.  What other Tele-tubby could he possibly be?”Tinky Winky.”
“That’s right…”
Nobody ever turned Poe or Lala into a gay icon… or gave them individual fame… The only teleubby that’s famous is Tinky Winky.
I also regret not letting him take a picture of him standing next to me…

some radio shock jock’s running in Mississippi

April 12th, 2014

A curious question which bugs me about Republican Primary races such as this one.

But Mr. McDaniel was a tad tougher when he hosted a radio talk show. In one broadcast that surfaced Thursday, Mr. McDaniel suggested that he would move to Mexico rather than pay reparations to blacks over slavery, and he referred to Mexican women as “mamacitas.”
In another extended riff, he joked about female wrestlers and spoke with frustration about liberals who he said had denounced Sony for a scene in a PlayStation game in which a white woman was depicted holding down a black woman.
“The world’s gone nuts,” Mr. McDaniel said. “Well, she wasn’t holding down a gay guy.”

Mr. Cochran’s backers have for months tried to portray Mr. McDaniel as the next incarnation of Todd Akin of Missouri, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware and Sharron Angle of Nevada, all Senate candidates who beat Republicans favored by the establishment in their primaries only to lose to Democrats in the general election.

And therein lies the question.  Is that the argument?  Don’t nominate this buffoon, because even if you agree with this buffoon a part of the electorate will judge him as a buffoon and let in some Democrat?  Is there any chance that 50 percent plus one of the Republican primary voters would choose to vote against this challenger because they agree he’s “out of bounds”?

Mr. McDaniel has worked hard not to fit the bill, and he has portrayed himself as a Christian and a family man who is flummoxed by modern culture.

And is that a typo?  There might be some decent comedy material to garner from the premise, if you’re writing a sitcom, but otherwise I don’t know why you would want to “portray himself” as “flummoxed by modern culture”.

But in the clip, he asks how a man with a limited knowledge of Spanish would pick up a woman in Mexico. “Cómo está, señorita?” he asks. “What about mamacita? Mamacita works. You say that at the wrong place, the wrong time, you will get beat down.”
“I’m an English-speaking Anglo,” he continued. “I have no idea what it means actually, but I’ve said it a few times, just for, you know, fun. And I think it basically means, ‘Hey, hot mama. You’re a fine looking young thing.’ ”

So he hosted a standard garden variety morning zoo radio fest?

Bottom line, and why I hope the Cochran strategy is based more on “you finding him distasteful” and not “your fellow voters finding him distasteful”…

Cochran supporters have said a McDaniel victory in the Republican primary on June 3 could give an opening to former Representative Travis Childers, who is expected to win the Democratic primary. Mr. Childers won his House seat in a special election in 2008 and was elected to a full term in the Democratic wave that fall, only to be swept out by the Tea Party in 2010.
But even against Mr. McDaniel, a Democrat would have a steep uphill climb. In 2012, President Obama lost the state by 11 percentage points. 

Better than Albert Gore, the last Senate candidate for the state, but I’m afraid the problem lies less in bridging the 11 percent gap (kind of did something like that in Indiana) and in the very much race-based stratification of the vote.  So… ratchet to the right, always ratchet to the right, and then… ?

CBS prepares to nuke Nebraska

April 11th, 2014

War in the east,  War in the west,  War up north,  War down south,
There is war,  And the rumors of war.
Until that day,  There is no continent, Which will know peace.

Or so goes the Bob Marley Song, made famous again by Sinead O’Connor… and…

War?

“CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America,” Limbaugh fumed. “No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservatism. Now it’s just wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy. They’re blowing up the 11:30 format… they hired a partisan, so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”

No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault?

Redefinition of what is comedy.

Interesting to note that one poll showing a large swarth of “conservatives” irony detector not working when viewing Stephen Colbert.  In a previous declaration of war against the “heartland of America”, polls showed people having no problem with the opinions expressed by Archie Bunker.

It is interesting to note that in the same way that Jon Stewart replaced Craig Kilbourne to do the same show, in theory someone could replace “Stephen Colbert” to do the same show.

grude match pitting Peter Defazio and Doc Hastings

April 10th, 2014

Hm.  Let’s go to newsmax for this particular story.  Might find the comments in the “bottom half of the Internet” amusing.  (Though, it looks like no… just a quick snip at Obama similar to the old story about naming some sewage system near San Francisco after Bush)

Republican Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada is pushing a bill that would name a part of Frenchman Mountain, located just east of Las Vegas, after the nation’s 40th president.
The House Natural Resources Committee approved Heck’s bill by voice vote Wednesday, but not before some Democrats on the committee had fun with the issue.
Democratic Rep. Pete DeFazio of Oregon said a more fitting tribute would be to name Yucca Mountain after Reagan. Steps taken to develop Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository accelerated during Reagan’s presidency. Nevadans are overwhelmingly opposed to the proposed waste repository and members of the state’s congressional delegation have worked diligently to kill it.
“If we were going to name something after the president, it ought to be something that actually had to do with the president’s service in office, and something the president supported that was extraordinarily significant to the state of Nevada,” DeFazio said.
Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said he thought DeFazio’s amendment was “terrific” but wanted to take it a step further and name the planet after Reagan.
“We may want to consider going big with this Reagan-naming enthusiasm,” Huffman said. “I’m beginning to see some possibilities in this.”
Huffman said his reasoning was that if the planet were named after Reagan, then Republicans might be more concerned with taking up legislation dealing with global warming.
Republican members of the committee played along.
“If the gentleman would introduce legislation, I would guarantee that he’ll have a hearing on that bill,” said Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the chairman, in response to Huffman’s idea for renaming the earth.
The committee then rejected DeFazio’s amendment and went on to pass the bill.

“Looks like those clowns in Congress did it again.  What a bunch of clowns.”

[...]

If the Republicans win the Senate, their bill just might pass.
Also… it’s notable a dwarf planet to Pluto was just named after Biden.

when the fbi visits, who do you turn to to get the word out?

April 10th, 2014

Not entirely sure what to make of this story, as when I google the name “Justin Hallman”, I can’t find it off of the axis of Russia TV / Alex Jones infowars / Ron Paul fan pages / Justin Hallman sites.

Except about here

I thought the whole thing was remarkable, myself.
As in, remarkably lame.
If I were the teacher, that video would have gotten a gentleman’s C at best, and not even because I think Ron Paul is as sharp as a pound of wet liver. I just thought it was a silly mess of a video.

Yeah.  It got an A, suckers.

So, the FBI is doing some talent scouting, claims this 16 year old, and has picked him up off a youtube video where he dismounts on the Illuminati, Occupy, and Ron Paul.

Hallman says the meeting wasn’t an informal chat, either, but even involved a proposition. According to the high-schooler, the FBIs attempted to recruit Hallman as an undercover source to scoop up more information on Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street.
“They wanted me to be an informant, to possibly put my life in danger, to help them arrest and gain intel on occupy protesters and hackers,” Hallman says in the email.

Still, I guess when you have a scoop like this, you have to bypass the traditional media  (Note today’s Oregonian has on its front page a giant non-infographic of an unlocked lock made up of 1s and 0s to demonstrate –???)

He can relax now, I am sure NSA will recruit him when turning 18, sure they pay good money, money he wont refuse, smart kids, they always hire them…

Nah.  The Kid’s never gonna sell out his principles.

One more note, the ad on the side at the RT report
grocerystoresfearhimwhy  Are Grocery Stores the only ones who fear him?

 

 

 

the new Oregonian: not just the death of print, but the death of News

April 9th, 2014

Pondering the new Oregonian…

On the second page, there’s a story at the bottom which tells the results of an incredibly meaningless online poll of politicians.  Apparently some GOP figures polled ahead of other politicians because of some mild online activism.

The poll doesn’t relate to how they might do in any election, mind you.  But it is indicative of the new approach of the Oregonian of “online first”, and “everyone get stuff online all the time”, and then we’ll wrap it up in the print edition.

Which the paper is “Proud Of”…

And the Beat goes on.